Casting Light on Network Transparency

Jason Oates

NetMargin’s VP of Media Services, Jason Oates, explains how internal and external transparency aligns partners and drives performance.

How does transparency help advertisers and affiliates?

When publishers and advertisers share data with each other, they have an opportunity to increase profitability and improve lead quality, making the entire system work better. Transparency is vital to building trusted and prosperous long-term relationships for all stakeholders.

What types of data should be shared between advertisers and publishers?

I’ll focus on a few that have the biggest impact in the email channel.

Publishers: NetMargin expects email publishers to provide detailed stats (e.g., open and click rates) when testing new creative against established controls or top-performing creative. It’s also helpful if publishers can provide context around how advertisements are targeted (e.g. list type, click behavior, demo, age, geo, etc.).

Advertisers: Advertisers should provide back-end performance reporting by a) Media Channel (e.g., email, search and banners) and b) Source (Publisher or List). Advertisers should be able to share actual numbers or performance indexes on things like call center contact rates, conversion rates, cost per sale, duplication rate, charge-back rates, percent U.S. IPs, and percent of leads falling into primary and secondary customer targets. Detailed feedback is vital for publishers to make optimization decisions.

What are the benefits of sharing this level of information?

It’s simple: advertisers get higher quality leads, and publishers generate more revenue. By sharing creative performance with design teams, we can collaborate on developing better creative, which will improve consumer response and publisher’s eCPMs. Understanding targeting techniques also impacts the creative and optimization process. When advertisers share reporting, it’s easier for publishers to improve their targeting and drive higher eCPMs and payouts from advertisers. For example, if we can inform a publisher that their leads are scored poorly because 60 percent of those leads are males 18-24 when the advertiser’s target audience are females 35+, the publisher will have the opportunity to make the necessary changes to continue running the program.

What is the network’s role in ensuring there is transparency?

We do our best to establish expectations very early so that, by the time we launch a campaign, our partners understand what’s needed to succeed and achieve a competitive advantage. Most importantly, though, is to leverage and share data to prove that transparency drives performance.

How has transparency created a Balanced Scorecard (BSC) approach to pricing?

The Balanced Scorecard is a strategic performance management tool for measuring whether the smaller-scale operational activities of a company are aligned with its larger-scale objectives in terms of vision and strategy. By establishing performance metrics tied to financial, operational, marketing and developmental goals and creating pricing tiers against those metrics, we can ensure strong and sustainable returns for advertisers and reward the highest-performing publishers.

Can you give an example of how transparency has increased performance for both the merchant and the affiliates?

One of our advertisers is providing age and gender information for every lead generated by each publisher so that they can see how their leads align with the client’s targeting goals. One of our publishers adjusted the campaign’s target audience and their effective CPC jumped from $1 to $1.35 within 24 hours.

Demand Creates the Marketplace

Galip Talegon

Galip Talegon answers questions relating to differences in the online advertising space between networks, ad exchanges, and marketplaces. He discusses Hyperbidder technology and how it addresses issues in the industry.

What are the most important trends you see happening in the online advertising space?

In online display advertising, lately we see a lot of consolidation taking place. More and more advertisers move to more transparent ad networks, and in particular ad auction networks. Ad auction networks that have the transparency, the real time reporting, optimization, and a unique technology that separate them from others have the upper hand.

How should an advertiser or agency decide between buying from a network or through an ad exchange or marketplace?

Usually a network serves ads blindly, meaning the ads are served to all the web properties they have, and not to a specific category or demographics where in ad exchange networks usually serve and auction out specific category, web property or demographics. And that is where the value lies in with ad exchange networks. With ad exchange networks, advertiser is able to better target their offers.

What kinds of transparency and control over where their ads are shown do advertisers have when buying through a marketplace?

Some of the newer ad exchange networks are very transparent, and advertisers have full control over where their ads are shown. Especially with Hyperbidder, advertisers are either able to buy ads a la carte, or in a category where they can see the web properties that make up that category, and decide whether or not to run their ads a la carte, or through the category itself. Having the transparency is a huge deal nowadays. Advertisers want to make sure that their ads do not get distributed through the wrong channels. How good is a great ad if it is not distributed through the right channels and served in front of the right audience? With that, if you also give the advertisers the power to control, change, edit the campaigns and the distribution channels where the campaigns are run, then you are a winner. With Hyperbidder, we accomplish these two as we strive to be not just an ad auction network, but the best and the fairest to both advertisers and publishers.

Media Buyers are inundated with new networks, exchanges and optimization services. What factors should influence their decision when choosing, and why should they choose Hyperbidder?

Hyperbidder is the only ad auction network where all bidders win! Hyperbidder knows how time is very valuable to the media buyers especially the ones that run huge campaigns in big ad agencies. Hyperbidder created a technology that not only allows media buyers determine the real ad value of each campaign, or ad space, or category but also an ad exchange that does not frustrate the media buyers. Since every bidder is a winner, no media buyer is left out, and their ad is served no matter what. They appreciate this as they do not feel like they wasted time, energy, and money like they would otherwise with other exchanges.

Hyperbidder was created with fair play in mind. What we mean by that is Publishers should be fair in their pricing, and all advertisers, regardless of their budget or how much they can afford to pay in CPM or CPC, should have a chance to advertise along with the bigger and higher paying advertisers. Hyperbidder’s proprietary technology is the fairest ad buying and selling technology out there. Through its all bidders win! ad auction, it allows everyone to win a piece of the pie, while helping determine the real ad value of the ad space, ad campaign, or category without the need of the publisher setting it himself. We save the media buyers time, money and energy while being fair to both sides. In essence what Hyperbidder accomplishes is to provide a sophisticated but an easy to use marketplace to let ad buyers make up a "laissez-faire" type of market like we see in Economy where the demand creates the marketplace. Of course in this case, it is done automatically through Hyperbidder’s unique proprietary platform.

Quality and Efficiency are the Keys

Jennifer Morgan

Collective is a leading media and technology solutions provider for display advertising. Collective delivers targeted audiences to advertising agencies, brand advertisers and publishers, through a combination of premium inventory, data and technology.

What are the most important trends you see happening in the online advertising space?

I think that the trend toward audience-based targeting will continue. We’re at a point now where we can deliver online audiences to advertisers precisely and at scale. Individual Web publishers will continue to be important, but the networks deliver large amounts of cross-site data and the technology and insights necessary for more effective advertising online.

You’ll remember in the 90s that our industry promised to put the right d in front of the right person at the right time. But the technologies, analytics, strategies and experience weren’t there to deliver the insights that advertisers have always needed to be successful. But now that’s all changed, and online display advertising is poised to become the most important advertising medium in history. Collective can, for example, deliver a video advertisement, with all the sight, sound and motion of television, directly to a targeted audience, and then deliver very granular analytics back to the client about consumers’ interactions with the ad. No other media can combine this kind of scale, targeting and measurability, along with very flexible creative formats.

This is why I believe the other big trend will be the continued movement of dollars from offline media to online.


What kind of transparency and control should advertisers look for?

Brand advertisers should only work with a 100% transparent network that in turn works only with premium publishers. Collective was built on this principle, and we continue to be on the forefront of quality — both in terms of our publishers as well as our data partners. Data quality is key as it allows us to offer our clients the most sophisticated targeting available. We currently partner with more than 13 best-in-breed data providers to give clients instant access to anonymous targeting data on over 165 million Web users — 80 percent of the total U.S. Internet population.


How would you describe Collective to people who aren’t familiar with it? What makes it unique?

Collective is a leading media and technology solutions provider for display advertising. We deliver targeted audiences to advertising agencies, brand advertisers and publishers, through a combination of premium inventory, data and technology. Our years of experience and our proprietary technology enable us to provide deep insights to our clients, which they can then leverage to reach any audience that they may be seeking.

Our flagship solutions are the Collective Network®, the original transparent network for brands; Collective Video®, the world’s first audience-driven video network; Collective Direct™ , the high quality network for direct marketers; and AMP®, the leading ad network administration, audience targeting and reach extension platform.

We’re headquartered in New York with offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. For more information, visit

World-Class E-commerce Platforms

George Hansen

George Hansen joined Digital River in 2006 as a Business Manager for oneNetworkDirect, where he has currently excelled to the role of Director of Sales and Business Development. His role has been to grow oneNetworkDirect through product innovation, affiliate recruitment, and expanding merchant relationships.

George is a seasoned technology sales executive with over 15 years of experience, selling across the some of the most recognized brands in the world, including Microsoft, IBM, Intel, AMD, and Seagate among others. Mr. Hansen has successfully led several technology sales teams, and earned such esteemed awards including Intel marketing company of the year.


When it comes to Internet companies, Digital River has a long history – dating back to 1994. Tell me a little bit about the Digital River story.

One of the best things about working at Digital River is our story. Our founder and CEO, Joel Ronning, is a true internet pioneer and has built Digital River into a global leader in e-commerce.

Anticipating the power of the Internet, Joel Ronning launched Digital River in 1994 with a vision to use the Internet instead of direct mail to deliver software. He knew Internet-based software delivery would be more efficient, more cost effective and more environmentally friendly. His intuition was right.

Today, Digital River processes over 175,000 transactions a day across eight global data centers — with 30 languages, 39 currencies, and more than 30 payment methods supported. Digital River is the clear choice for companies wanting to take their online business global. The company’s business has grown significantly — successfully expanding into complementary markets, including high tech manufacturing and consumer electronics — and it is great to work for a company in our position.

Beyond that, Digital River has had the vision to layer additional technologies and services on top of our world class e-commerce platforms, creating even more value for our clients and affiliates. From directTrack, one of the most powerful and feature-rich web-based affiliate tracking solutions- to oneNetworkDirect, Digital River’s family of affiliate networks – on through to Digital River’s market-Force strategic marketing team, we are able to manage our clients’ online marketing and e-commerce activities in an end-to-end solution that adds tremendous value. And ultimately, this layered vertical integration helps us drive more revenue for our clients, and in turn Digital River. It is a shared success model that has proven to be very powerful in creating long term partnerships with our clients and affiliates.

Digital River has several affiliate networks – how do they all fit together?

We refer to all of the Digital River affiliate platforms as our ‘Family of Networks’. Our Family consists of regNow, element5, share*it!, esellerate, directLeads and oneNetworkDirect. Together we have over 130,000 products in our affiliate channel, including a vast selection of the biggest technology brands in the world. If you are an affiliate interested in expanding your technology sales — it is clear who to turn to- Digital River.

oneNetworkDirect has a unique focus. Tell me about it.

oneNetworkDirect does have a very unique focus – to be the world’s largest digital marketplace. To that end, we are focusing on Software, Consumer Electronics, and Games as the main industries to help us achieve that goal. And we are well on our way to having the largest catalog of digital products available to affiliates anywhere in the world.

What is on the horizon for Digital River and oneNetworkDirect?

2009 has been a very exciting year because of all the advanced technology products Digital River is working on. Digital River currently has over 20+ new products in the pipeline, many geared towards enhancing our family of affiliate networks. We are continuing to leverage the direct- Track platform in our effort to enhance the client and affiliate experience, and to build out our world class toolset. We are actively adding quality Tier 1 merchants and that trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Things are looking very good for Digital River affiliates!

If there is one thing you would like affiliates to take away regarding oND – what is it?

It would have to be our commitment to assisting affiliates in the success of their business. The Digital River story is so unique – and our focus so specific- that affiliates will not find a more dedicated network working towards their success. If you haven’t already – give us a try. We think you will be glad you did.